Plastic Mold Steel for the Medical Market

Daniel Kipp, Daniel Frie

In this difficult time, medical-disposable items, research, testing, and diagnosis plastic components, as well as medical packaging, are of major importance. In many cases, these components require complex corrosion resistant injection molds with improved productivity, a high number of cavities as well as highest surface demands. In sum, the molds have to fulfil design features, performance and functionality requirements of the medical markets. For this reason, the right plastic mold steel is the basis, as they serve the high quality of the ready-to-use plastic products. A general rule: The better a tool steel is matching to the demands of a plastic product, the better the final product quality.

Plastic mold steels in general

Plastic mold steels are as diverse as their applications. This tool steel group is used in tools and molds, e.g. for injection molding, blow molding or extrusion. A mold for the processing of plastics is a complex tool that can be made of various components. For example, the tool steels can be used as material for mold frames and/or inserts for small molds or for large and complex molds. Plastic mold steels can be classified into the following groups:

Plastic mold steels from Deutsche Edelstahlwerke

Plastic mold steels provided by Deutsche Edelstahlwerke are characterized by two factors. On one hand, the highest quality and on the other hand the properties of the steel can be ideally adjusted to the most diverse requirements in each individual case to those of the plastic product itself. By the use of the latest technologies, our steels meet the highest requirements with regard to:

  • Cleanliness
  • Polishability
  • Homogeneity of the microstructure
  • Uniform hardness distribution
  • Wear resistance
  • Temperature resistance
  • Machinability
  • Toughness
  • Thermal conductivity

Medical Tools Clipart

Corrosion-resistant plastic mold steels

Corrosion-resistant tool steels are mainly used to accompany the highest properties required for the production of medical products. In order to guarantee clean and stable devices even the tool, wherein the part is produced, shall be made of corrosion-resistant steel. The reasons for this can be found, amongst other things, in their resistance to condensation and cooling water as well as in the increasing proportion of corrosive plastics which corrode tool steel during processing through acid precipitation.

However, the benefits resulting for plastic part manufacturers from the increasing use of "all-stainless" mold designs are simultaneously a problem for mold makers. The machinability of all stainless steels available to date requires a great deal of machining effort. Particularly in the case of mold frames, which frequently require machining volumes of 60%, efficient machinability and dimensional stability are important criteria.

Corroplast features a special alloy system with reduced carbon content resulting in outstanding machinability and improved weldability. It is recommended for base plates, assembly parts or plastic molds with standard requirements regarding polishability which must be resistant to condensation and cooling water. Thanks to its special manufacturing technology, Corroplast is virtually free from residual stress and therefore extremely dimensionally stable during machining. In addition, the good thermal conductivity results in a high processing rate.

Formadur 2083 Superclean is a corrosion-resistant, remelted plastic mold steel for high polishability requirements. Application areas in plastics processing: Injection molds, compression molding, extrusion molding.

Formadur PH X Superclean is a highly corrosion-resistant, precipitation-hardening steel featuring high strength combined with excellent toughness. Because Formadur PH X Superclean is remelted and pre-hardened to 40 HRC, it features outstanding polishability. Application areas in plastics processing: Injection molds, compression molding, extrusion molding, blow molding, extrusion tools.

Want to learn more about plastic mold steel? Contact DEW today with your questions.

Article by Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW)

Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW) is one of the world’s leading producers and processors of special steel long products and belongs to the SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH Group. In the three materials groups – engineering steel, tool steel and stainless, acid and heat resistant steel – Deutsche Edelstahlwerke offers international customers a uniquely wide range of product dimensions, from drawn wire with a diameter of 4.5 mm to open-die forgings with a diameter of 1,100 mm. As a partner with technical competence in steel, Deutsche Edelstahlwerke develops innovative, individual special steel solutions for complex high-tech applications and offers services ranging from steelmaking to extensive steel processing and steel finishing.

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Did you know?

Plastic mold steels can generally be classified into two main groups: corrosion-resistant and non-corrosion resistant steels. They can then both be further broken down into two groups: sulphurized and non-sulphurized steels.